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updated: 9/5/2013 4:27 PM

Girls cross country: Scouting Northwest

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  • Caroline Kurdej of Schaumburg, left, and Barrington's Lauren Conroy figure to be among the area's top competitors this fall.

      Caroline Kurdej of Schaumburg, left, and Barrington's Lauren Conroy figure to be among the area's top competitors this fall.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent


Buffalo Grove

Coach: Sara (Cleveland) Farrell (sixth year)

Last year: eighth in MSL.

Key losses: Caitlin Kelley, Andrea Mau.

Top returning runners: Katilyn Ko (so.), Katie Geraghty (sr.), Lindsey Waite (sr.), Amber Waite (sr.), Megan Gardner (sr.), Mia Inman (jr.), Michelle Dublin (sr.).

Top newcomers: Natalie Lezama (so.), Natalie Fitch (fr.), Sarah Prommer (fr.), Rebecca Rabs (so.).

Outlook: Ko made quite a mark in her freshman season for Buffalo Grove. She took third in the MSL, second at the Schaumburg sectional, and finished 22nd in Class 3A. Ko also had an impressive track season finishing 15th in the 3,200 at the state meet. She is off to a great start this season. Lezama and Fitch have given BG a boost in the 2-3 spot. Geraghty was the second runner for BG at conference last season and will add to the Bison's attack this season.

Elk Grove

Coach: Mark Heintz (sixth year).

Last year: 11th in MSL.

Top returning runners: Stephanie Phillips (so.), Stephanie Calmeyn (jr.), Loredana Lappano (sr.), Becky McDonough (jr.), Megan Frintner (sr.).

Top newcomers: Ava Seweryski (fr.), Beatriz Perez (sr.), Cassie Slattery (so.).

Outlook: Elk Grove continues to build and Heintz adds depth to his team for this season. The Grenadiers will miss the contributions of Jeanne McCormick, who had a solid freshman season, but decided not to participate this season. The Grens do have Phillips, and the sophomore has made progress and is starting to separate from the pack. Lappano and Frinter add experience.


Coach: Jim Miks (10th year).

Last year: ninth in MSL.

Key losses: Amanda Cortese, Clarissa Cruz, Sara Bayerle.

Top returning runners: Lauren Solberg (sr.), Patrycja Krupa (sr.), Madi Lipowski (sr.), Halle Lyon (jr.), Callie Joncas (sr.).

Top newcomers: Michelle Fugiel (so.), Hailey Bowes (fr.), Kristen Farrell (so.).

Outlook: Hersey lost it top three runners from last year's quad, Miks and the Huskies will be looking at two newcomers to lead the pack this year. Fugiel, who had a solid track season, and Bowles will pace Hersey's attack this season. The Huskies will then depend on a pack of upperclassmen that includes returning runners Solberg, Lipowski, and Lyon. Hersey will be looking to make a move up in the tough MSL.


Coach: Dave Wurster (18th year).

Last year: 12th in Class 3A, third at Schaumburg sectional, Hoffman Estates regional champion, fourth in MSL , MSL East Division champion.

Key losses: Brooke Wolfe (Missouri/13th in Class 3A), Lauren Poplawski (18th in class 3A).

Top returning runners: Rachel Henk (sr.), Hannah Getschman (jr.), Katrina Leeney (sr.), Ellen Siefke (jr.), Maggie Sullivan (jr.).

Top newcomers: Brooke Wilson (fr.), Molly Leeney (fr.), Brittany Amerjian (fr.).

Outlook: Wurster begins his 18th and final season directing Prospect's girls cross country program. The Knights have won two out of the last four MSL titles, and have qualified for the state meet five consecutive years. Prospect lost three all-state runners in the past two years, including Brooke Wolfe and Lauren Poplawski from last year squad. Despite the losses , Wurster is hoping to have the Knights in the hunt for its sixth straight state appearance. Henk and Getschman both made all-conference last season and will be a big part of the Knights attack that will focus on pack running. Leeney has also been a top seven runner for Knights. Sullivan won the soph/frosh MSL title. Wilson will have an immediate impact for the Knights this season and is running near the top. After losing its top two runners from last season, the Knights are looking for someone to take charge.

Rolling Meadows

Coach: Kevin Young (fifth year).

Last year: 10th in MSL.

Key losses: Mariah Heck , Melissa Whowell.

Top returning runners: Gabby Sanchez (so.), Sara O'Malley (so), Vanessa Sanchez (sr.), Zoe Franton (jr.).

Outlook: Gabby Sanchez and O'Malley both had a strong freshman campaigns and will pace the Mustangs attack this season. The two sophomores will challenge for an all-conference spots this season. Vanessa Sanchez and Franton will add experience for Rolling Meadows.


Coach: Tim Nowicki (2nd year).

Last year: 12th in MSL.

Top returning runners: Marta Dzundza (sr.), Melissa Rodriguez (so.), Aurora Mala (jr.), Andrea Arriaga (sr.), Jessie Sanford (jr.), Anabelen Figueroa (jr.), Ceci Uriostegui (jr.).

Top newcomers: Hailey Dammeier (jr.), Maria Bedoya (jr.), Danielle Pierini (so.).

Outlook: Nowicki begins his second year and is optimistic that Wheeling will take a step forward. Dzundra and Rodriguez are the top two returning runners for the Wildcats and both are looking to build off a strong track season. Dammeier and Bedoya hope to have an immediate impact for a Wildcat squad that is building depth.



Coach: Debbie Revolta (23 years).

Last year: 8th in Class 3A, second at Schaumburg sectional, second in MSL.

Key losses: Becca Batliner (Missouri), Rachel Simon, Ashleigh Kleinjan.

Top returning runners: Lauren Conroy (so.), Caroline Reynolds (sr.), Camille Blaisdell (sr.), Kristen Patino (sr.), Lauren Cropsey (so.), Jenna Privatsky (sr.), Ingrid Peterson (jr.).

Top newcomers: Addison Coy (fr.), Rianna DeLaurentis (fr.).

Outlook: Barrington has finished in the top 10 at state in six of the last ten years, including a state title in 2003. Revolta has another team that is state quality this season. It starts with Conroy, defending MSL champion, who finished 19th in Class 3A last season. Conroy will give the Fillies a top-notch front-runner. Reynolds will be a nice complement to Conroy. Reynolds was the Fillies top finisher at the Schaumburg sectional, taking eighth place; she flirted with a state medal, finishing in 30th place in Class 3A. Patino and Blaisdell have state experience and are making progress. Cropsey is coming off a strong track season and will contribute to the Fillies' top five. Barrington will push for another top-10 state finish once again this season and deep freshman class could help at the end.


Coach: Ron Theberge (4th year).

Last year: 13th at Schaumburg sectional, seventh in MSL.

Key losses: Mollie Dalton, Emily Day, Heidi Hutch.

Top returning runners: Zoe Shoro (so.), Abby Tripp (jr.), Michelle Marasigan (so.), Natalia Lakomski (so.), Heather Cizek (so.), Lauren Caputo (jr.), Courtney Sherman (sr.), Stephanie Buga (sr.).

Top newcomers: Allie Gade (so.), Sydney Davis (fr.), Kelsey Cirone (jr.), Ola Urbanski (jr.), Jennifer Bolek (so.).

Outlook: Conant is definitely a team on the rise and returns six runners that ran at sectionals, including Shoro and Tripp, who give the Cougars a nice lift up front. Both Shoro and Tripp made all conference and will look to lead the Cougars' attack once again. Marasigan Lakomski will power the second wave. Look for Cizek also to add to the attack. Conant has added depth and should continue to climb this season.


Coach: Joe Marcin (first year).

Last year: Sixth at Schaumburg sectional, fourth in MSL.

Key losses: Kelly Breen (Iowa), Megan Moroney, Katie Filosa, Emily Kahanic.

Top returning runners: Ayako Higuchi (jr.), Jess Petersen (jr.), Lauren Ciardiello (jr.), Olivia Youman (sr.), Christine Cano (sr.), Angela Wu (sr.)

Top newcomers: Nora Finegan (fr.), Anita Gruzien (jr.).

Outlook: Fremd lost 5 of its top 7 runners from from last year's fourth place MSL finish . The Vikings missed qualifying for state by 6 points, finishing sixth at the sectional. Fremd will miss the contributions of Breen, who was a two-time all-state runner and Marcin has taken over from Mark Anderson, who guided the Vikings' attack for 10-years. Fremd will also be running on a new home course at Harper College. Needless to say there are plenty of changes for the Vikings. But Higuchi returns after placing 18th in the MSL and is primed for a big season. Petersen, who was injured last season, and Finegan are making a push and will contribute. Youman also adds experience for the Vikings. A lot of new faces will give the Vikings fresh start.

Hoffman Estates

Coach: Kirk Macnider (10th year).

Last year: Ninth at Schaumburg sectional, sixth in MSL.

Key losses: Rachel Flach (Carthage), Tyra Palmer (Illinois Wesleyan), Yesina Nunez (North Central), Janki Patel (St. Louis College of Pharmacy), Cass Summerfelt (Milwaukee School of Engineering).

Top returning runners: Solome Haile (sr.), Elsabet Haile (sr.), Alondra Aguirre (jr.), Meagan Biddle (so.), Yazmin Nunez (so.), Reena Prabhu (so.), Kaylan Williams (jr.), Natasha Subbarao (sr.), Monica Zawisza (so.).

Top newcomer: Brenda Regalado (sr.).

Outlook: Hoffman Estates and coach Macnider were disappointed in not qualifying for state last season, but the Hawks are poised to wipe away that disappointment this season. Solome Haile (2012 all-conference), Aquirre (two-time all-conference), and Biddle give the Hawks a powerful top three. Biddle busted onto the scene late last fall, and continued her strong showing in the spring by hitting a 5:02 in the mile. Aguirre is primed for a big season. Prabhu and Nunez are ready to make a splash and contribute to the Hawks' attack. Elsabet Haile will add experience. Hoffman had a strong showing in track and is looking to build off it. Palatine is probably the favorite in the MSL, but don't discount the Hawks. Hoffman will be a major player all season, including the state meet.


Coach: Joe Parks (fifth year).

Last year: Fifth in Class 3A, Schaumburg sectional champions, Grant regional champion, MSL champions, MSL West champions.

Key losses: Tess Wasowicz (Minnesota/ 11th in Class 3A), Jacqui Paneral (Lewis).

Top returning runners: Jessica Lincoln (sr.), Liz Cox (sr.), Cassidy McPherson (sr.), Sabina Yosif (so.), Amy Kieliszewski (jr.), Kara Burton (jr.), Kelly O'Brien (jr.).

Top newcomers: Anna Buckstaff (fr.), Izzeh Stankiswicz (fr.).

Outlook: Palatine enters the season with high expectations, and why not? The Pirates finished fifth in Class 3A last season and return six runners that ran at state. Palatine will miss Wasowicz, who finished as a two-time state medalist, including an 11th-place finish last season, but the Pirates do return seniors Lincoln, Cox, and McPherson to power its lineup. Lincoln made all-state in 2011 and just missed last season, finishing in 33rd place. Cox, McPherson, and Burton helped lead Palatine to a second-place finish in the 3,200 relay at the Class 3A state meet in track and field. Keep an eye on the progress of Yosif and O'Brien, it could be a breakout year for these two sophomores. Kieliszewski was a contributor last season, and will be in the mix this year. Buckstaff could contribute late. Palatine has finished in the top 10 at state 12 of the last 13 years. The Pirates once again have a team that will not only be the favorite to win the MSL title but they will also be in serious contention for a state trophy.


Coach: Jason Beer (third year).

Last year: 22nd in Class 3A, fourth at Schaumburg sectional, third in MSL.

Key losses: Hannah Coombs, Sam Nordli, Karyn Baldwin, Sarah Richter, Tori Capozziello.

Top returning runners: Caroline Kurdej (jr.), Erin Falsey(jr.), Ali Gutt (jr.), Paige Schackelton (sr.), Debra Sodimu (sr.), Celeste Pena (jr.).

Top newcomers: Ellie O'Connell (fr.), Annie Finneran (fr.), Valerie Schackelton (fr.).

Outlook: Schaumburg was performing at a high level all the way up to the Class 3A state meet last season, but the Saxons didn't quite live up to expectations at the state race. Schaumburg will be ready to take another swipe at it this year. Kurdej returns as the Saxons' top runner. The junior finished second in the MSL last season and third at Schaumburg sectional. A hip injury slowed her sophomore track season, but she is ready to go this fall. Also joining the fun will be Gutt (sixth)and Falsey (ninth); both made all-conference last season and give the Saxons a tough top three. Schaumburg also welcomes a talented group of freshmen, with O'Connell looking to make a major impact. Schaumburg has been right in the thick of things during Beer's first two years, and it should be no different this year. Look for the Saxons to finish strong at state this season.


Maine West

Coach: Greg Regalado (17th year).

Last year: Sixth in CSL North.

Key losses: Shana Atkinson, Cynthia Delgado, Caroline Gra, Carolina Gonzalez, Roxxi Rubey, Mayra Velazquez.

Top returning runners: Ashley Grahn (sr.), Kristen Janzen (sr.), Gigi Ortiz (sr.), Kate Madden (jr.).

Top newcomers: Brooke Gorski (fr.), Karina Marin-Serrano (fr.).

Outlook: Regalado is hoping a few new faces will help energize Maine West this season. Ortiz has emerged as the Warrior's No. 1 runner. Gorski and Marin-Serrano lead a strong freshman class that is hoping to make an impact this season. Glenbrook North, Highland Park, and Deerfield will set the pace in the CSL North.


St. Viator

Coach: Wayne Edelman (first year).

Last year: 11th in Class 2A, Fenton sectional champions, St. Viator regional champions, fourth in ESCC.

Key losses: Hanna Winter (Illinois), Shannon Cooney.

Top returning runners: Meghan Carrol (sr.), Katie Malek (sr.), Dominique LoVerde (sr.), Kelly Kompanowski (jr.), Maria Dugo (jr.), Julia Bergstrom (so.), Katie Cooley (jr.).

Top newcomers: Theresa Donohue (fr.).

Outlook: Edelman, St. Viator's boys head cross country coach, will take over the girls program as well this year. Former coach Jimmy Milner leaves the program in great shape as the Lions took 11th in Class 2A last season adding a pair of regional and sectional titles. Viator will miss Winter, who was a three time all-state runner, but the Lions do have Carrol returning. Last season she finished 19th in Class 2A and also took fourth at the ESCC meet. The Viator senior will be one of the top runners in 2A this season. Malek, who finished 15th in the ESCC, and LoVerde return; both were top five runners for Viator last season. Despite losing Winter, there should be no drop-off for the Lions this season. Look for Viator to contend with Benet, Fenwick, and Marist in the ESCC and also make a push for top ten in Class 2A.



Coach: Emily Schader (12th year).

Last year: Fifth in WSG.

Key losses: Danyle Segura, Marta Ramirez, Joanna Kopinska.

Top returning runners: Aleksandra Kijowska (sr.), Misia Szelazek (so.), Angela Pyrdol (sr.), Alyssa Aiello (sr.), Sarah Poulos (sr.), Autumn Hankins (jr.), Catrina Sanfilippo (jr.), Paulina Castellan (sophomore).

Top newcomer: Vanessa Gallegos

Outlook: Leyden advanced as a team to the Niles West sectional last season, but the Eagles lost their top runner in Segure. Kijowska returns and will lead the Eagles this season. Last year Kijowska ran No. 2 for the Eagles and finished 15th in the WSG. Szelazek and Pyrdol will also contribute. Schader returns to take over the program from Katie Gudex . Downers Grove South will be the team to beat in the WSG.


Christian Liberty Academy

Coach: Bradley Wells (3 year).

Top returning runners: Natalie Barclay (sr.).

Top newcomers: Isabella Wolke (fr.), Gracie Lockett (jr.).

Outlook: Christian Liberty Academy will field a small team, but Wells is hoping that the Chargers will make a run in the postseason. Barclay is coming off a strong track season and will be the Chargers No. 1 runner. Harvest Christian is the defending NAC champion.

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